Sheila Seward, a former Elmont Memorial Library employee, was sentenced to serve one to three years in prison and pay more than $236,000 in restitution on Wednesday, after pleading guilty in September to grand larceny charges, and admitting that she stole more than $260,000 from the library over the course of six years.
Seward, a 59-year-old from West Babylon, was working as an administrative assistant at the time, and therefore had access to the library’s finances, according to District Attorney Madeline Singas. In August 2012, Singas said, Seward began adding excess payments, labeled “other compensation,” to her paychecks. The amounts she added ranged from $39 to $6,900, and increased over time. In total, Singas reported, Seward added money to her paychecks more than 100 times, and used the funds for medical bills and college tuition.
Seward resigned from her position at the library in August 2018.
About one month later, Elmont Library officials caught on to her scheme, when they conducted a review of the library’s financial statements. They then reported it to the District Attorney’s Office.
“We were obviously shocked to learn all the alleged illegal activities taking place within our library system,” Livingstone Young, president of the library board said in November 2019, when Sewardd was charged with grand larceny in the second degree, falsifying business records in the second degree and official misconduct.
The library has since taken measures to protect itself from further thefts. In a news release following Seward’s arrest, library officials wrote that they had hired a library director and a personnel clerk, changed insurance carriers and increased coverage for employee theft. Additionally, they said, the library has since automated its payroll system, and is now receiving payroll warrants directly from the payroll company.
“I thank the Elmont Memorial Library for their cooperation in this investigation,” Singas said in a statement, “and I’m glad that the stolen money will be returned to this community fixture.”